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How to make a living in Paradise

Kay McMahon reviews a book by Philip Wylie

I received the South East Asia edition of this book, which primarily talks about Thailand, but the vast majority of the content is applicable elsewhere. I was looking forward to reading this one, especially since the subject matter is right up my street. Who wouldn’t want to make a living in Paradise?

The author is well qualified to write such a book, having already published How to Establish A Successful Business In Thailand. Philip Wylie also has an extensive amount of professional experience as a company director, business manager, and several other senior positions, in various countries around the world. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (FCA) and has an MBA (London).

The book consists of seven chapters plus some extras such as an introduction, a South East Asia directory, and a glossary. There’s lots in this informative and well-written book, so let’s have a closer look.

Chapter 1 Preparation

This covers the general basics such as passports, visas, insurance and money matters in general. In a nutshell this is the “look before you leap” part of the book and aims to help you hit the ground running when you embark on your new life in Paradise.

Chapter 2 Keys to survival

This is the “survive and thrive” chapter.  Much of it will seem like common sense to those of us who are old hands at the expat life.  But every seasoned expat will have tales to tell about newcomers who show up and do the daftest things. As well as some practical information about bank accounts, money transfers and support groups, there’s lots of good advice in here to help avoid the common pitfalls that newbies often fall into.

Chapter 3 Running an independent business

Now we’re getting down to the nitty-gritty.  The book is about how to make a living in Paradise, remember?  This chapter is as good as a one-to-one session with a business consultant. Philip Wylie knows his stuff!  He talks the reader through the pros and cons of buying an established business or starting up a new one. He discusses lots of issues that any potential business owner should be aware of, including examples of how to value a business, how to handle negotiations, carry out due diligence, etc. But it’s not dull theory, it’s a very practical, hands-on kind of approach. There’s even a checklist which you can use to make sure you’re ready to put an offer in for any business.

Chapter 4  Buying a franchise

Are you a suitable franchisee? Regardless of how good a franchise might be, you need to have the right personality to run such a business. Having established that, Philip then explores the advantages and disadvantages of the franchise business model and provides a franchise evaluation checklist.

Chapter 5 Working freelance

This chapter discusses portable skills which enable you to work from anywhere in the world. These skills include teaching, website programming, writing and many others. Philip suggests ways to network and advertise to help people become aware of your services.

Chapter 6 Alternative approaches

This is a brief chapter encouraging people to think outside the box. “There is no limit on the number of ways of earning a living overseas.”  You can do it if you hold on to your vision and dream.

Chapter 7  Popular ways to earn a living abroad

This, in some ways, is my favourite part of the book and covers several of the popular ways to earn a living abroad, such as teaching, property development, writing, website development, owning a tourist-related business, and much more.  I’d thought I was quite au fait with the subject but even so, I still gleaned some good ideas and knowledge from here. My only slight criticism is that I felt that the author didn’t go far enough into some of the subjects covered in this chapter but, to be fair, you could write a book on its own about any of them! It would have been pointless for Philip to go into great depth about how to make a living abroad as, say, a writer or a webmaster, when perhaps the majority of readers wouldn’t be interested in doing that.

I see this chapter as being more of a taster of what can be done and a terrific starting point for more in-depth books on some of the specific subjects covered. Even so, it still contained lots of useful contact addresses, ideas, case studies and practical advice which would benefit anyone wanting to earn a living abroad.

In summary

This is a well-written and informative book which is very easy to read. Despite the subject matter, how to run a business or otherwise make money abroad, the use of examples and case studies make it all a breeze to understand. This is no heavy business tome. It does what it says on the tin. It tells you how to make a living in Paradise.

Of course, it would be foolish to think that all you have to do is to read this book and you’ve got it made. Success requires hard work, determination, stamina, and an aptitude for what you’re doing. There’s no magic wand to change your life – only you can do that. But if you are planning on embarking on such a major change you’d be well advised to buy this book and pay heed to its contents. Don’t leave home (or your day job) without it!

How to make a living in Paradise

Philip Wylie with Andrew Bond
Paperback, 264 pages
2010, Fast Track Publishing
ISBN 978-616-90336-1-5

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